Publicity on TV, radio 48 hrs before voting may land politicos in jail: EC

Any politician may get a notice from Election Commission and may even have to go to jail for two years if his comments arguing in favour of him or his party is aired by a TV channel during the 48 hours before the end of polling for Assembly elections in Karnataka on May 12.

The ban on airing any content, which might influence the voters, on TV and radio channels during the 48 hours before the conclusion of polling will remain in force during the forthcoming Assembly elections in Karnataka, the Election Commission clarified on Tuesday.

The EC stated that all the provisions of the Representation of People's Act, 1951 should prevail and will be binding for all during the Assembly elections.

The EC issued the clarification to dispel any doubt over applicability of the Act as it had in January constituted a committee to give a re-look to the Section 126 of the law.

The committee was constituted following a controversy over Congress President Rahul Gandhi's interview aired by some TV channels on December 13 last year just a day before the second phase polling for the elections to the Gujarat Assembly was scheduled to be held. The EC had served a notice to Rahul for flouting the Section 126 of the Act.

The Section 126 prohibits displaying any election matter on TV or "similar apparatus" during the period of 48 hours ending with the hour fixed for conclusion of poll in a constituency. The "election matter" has been defined in the section as any matter intended or calculated to influence or affect the result of an election.

It had constituted a committee to study and examine the present provisions of Section 126 and other related sections of Act and identify difficulties or critical gaps to regulate the violation of the provisions of the act, particularly during the prohibitory period of 48 hours.

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